Thursday, June 19, 2008

Traveller's Tales

While I can't really say I've travelled too much, I can say, with all the confidence in the world; that I've made the most of each and every trip. To begin with; I'm the kind of person who's probably throw away a map just so I wouldn't look at it, and to say that a rainy day is only an occasion to eat something different. Yet; there was one trip that really wore me out; one from New York to Frankfurt, with my flight postponed by over eight hours, my luggage lost in transit, my phone battery running dead, having drunk black coffee without a meal; there was little I could do but wait.

I soon began cribbing to a fellow passenger. Misery loves company. I soon settled with being bored and looking at the pictures I had taken of my exploits before my arrival. All I was hoping for was a distraction, and it soon came in the form of a large man, who I've since tried to contact many times, but have been quite unsuccessful. We got chatting; but after a while, I could only remain silent. That was one of the few times in my life I can remember listening without saying a word.

RSK was a millionare, and that was past tense even when I met him. He was a prisoner, now free and on his way to his home country. As he went on, I got more than just a way to pass my time. He originally went to Nigeria for some business dealings, and things seemed to be going well until someone stole his identity and he was convicted of fraud. He went on with his story; he was forced to stay in dark, dingy cells and undergo inhuman treatment. He was forced to sign a confession everyday, and the only thing that stopped him from doing so was his integrity.

In spite of his inhuman treatment, he candidly admitted that of all the inmates, he was meted the best treatment; and there would often be fights in the prison on who would stay with him in the cell; him being the only "whitey" there. The impact of racism hadn't become as apparent to me until then. His own government seemed ill inclined on pursuing his release. He continued about how for many days he had almost no food to eat. His torment ultimately did come to an end six months later, when thanks to the intervention of the Goverment, he was flying on an Emergency Visa to Canada, hoping that he could take up his issue with his government.

I recorded many things on that trip on my video camera; but I missed recording this "interview". When I look back, I do regret it, but it wouldn't really have been the same with me pointing a camera at his face.


I decided, of course, I would keep in touch with such an interesting person, and asked him how I could contact him, and he scribbled his email behind the receipt for his Big Mac (or as he called it; his first taste of home) and handed it to me. I've never succeeded in contacting him, but I still have that receipt, safe with me, and a lone picture to remind me of him; or contemplate on when I have a really bad day.

Then again, I never really needed a picture: RSK is a man I will never, ever forget.

7 comments:

Lakshman Srikanth said...

RSK ??? whats his full name? ?
:P
Cool dude....., I think you had a wonderful experience! If you Contact him, let us know whats happening! I am also very inspired by your story... and also of course RSK.
:-)

Avi C said...

Robert S Krueger

the perfectshade of blue said...

hey really nice read

Avi C said...

Thank you Hari

codemastercool said...

A very good read. Its very amazing, to think of all the people you can meet at airports, stations etc. We all have fond memories of people who talk to us for barely a day, yet make an impact on our life. And we wish so badly that we could meet them again.

Suraj said...

Bloody hell! Hey dude...RSK...if you're reading this blog, you have some serious stuff to catch up on.

Ritika Dusad said...

ummm... can't describe this blog in a few words... yes well racism. amazing, i mean ppl discriminating against one's own color. yes.. this story is a little bit like that of gregory david robert's Shantaram.
interseting blog (definitely)